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1 dead in Oklahoma City police shooting

According to police sources, this week an officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department was involved in the department's fifth officer-involved shooting thus far in 2017. The 8-year veteran officer was placed on administrative leave with pay following an incident on Sept. 19.

After hearing a fellow officer's request for back-up, the responding officer shot a 35-year-old developmentally disabled deaf man who could not communicate verbally. The officer shot him even as a crowd of onlookers shouted to police that "he can't hear," the deaf man's neighbor told media outlet News OK.

The neighbor added that the deceased man couldn't "speak [or] hear, mainly [communicating with] hand movements." He said that he felt his neighbor became frustrated trying to communicate with the officers about an alleged hit-and-run collision in which police suspected the nonverbal man had been involved.

Events unfolded after the accident occurred near the intersection of Shields Blvd. and SE 57 along the 220 block. The OCPD spokesperson reported that an accident witness reported that after the collision, the driver sped off. Police located the vehicle at the home located at 229 SE 57.

When officers arrived around 8:15 that evening to question the driver, the disabled man was on his porch brandishing a 2' length of metal pipe. Officers ordered him to drop it. When he didn't respond, the two policemen — one holding a Taser and the other his service revolver — fired both weapons at the suspect from a distance of approximately five yards.

The man died at the scene of the shooting. There were no body cameras in use by either officer when the fatal shooting happened. No police officers suffered any injuries in the incident. The officer armed with the Taser is a supervisor.

The actual suspect involved in the accident was not the deaf man but his father. The father told police that his son had not been riding in the car when the collision happened and that his son did not have any convictions on his record.

The neighbor concluded that it was his opinion that the shooting was unjustified and the surviving family members intended to hire an attorney to file a lawsuit.

This case illustrates how even a minor incident like the alleged hit-and-run can turn into a tragedy when suspects face questioning from police without a criminal defense attorney present.

Source: NEWS OK, "Deaf man shot, killed by police in SE OKC Tuesday," Sep. 20, 2017

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